Ortelius, Abraham, 1527-1598.
Theatrvm orbis terrarvm.
Antverpiae: Plantin Press, 1584.
When the Theatrum orbis was first printed in 1570, Europeans had never
visited much of the world. Ortelius, one of the greatest early cartographers, was not an experienced
traveler or explorer. He was instead an enthusiastic reader, researcher, and assembler of the
travel literature of his time.
All early editions of Ortelius are of considerable rarity, but in the case of this 1584 edition from
the Plantin Press, the scarcity is rather extreme. This edition is the first from Plantin Press and,
thus, the first issue of these fine plates. It contains nineteen more maps than any other edition
until 1598, when the Plantin Press made another issue from the same plates. Nine maps show America, and
all show California correctly as a peninsula.
It has been learned that the coloring of the plates was not only done at the press, but actually
by Ortelius' maiden sisters who worked at the press for this particular production.
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